Conspirator is the compelling story of Lenin in exile. It tells how, for seventeen years, he lived a hand-to-mouth existence outside Russia, working towards the upheaval that in 1917 transformed the political landscape of Europe: the Russian Revolution.
Constantly watched by the secret police, the arch conspirator and his cohorts were dependent on the protection of a shadowy network of like-minded friends and supporters. Obsessive, penniless and driven, they took huge risks to publish and smuggle back into Russia the samizdat literature that spread their message. Lenin was always on the move, between the great cities of Europe - Paris, London, Geneva, Brussels and Munich - and the rural backwaters of Finland and Poland. He led an uncertain life, often under assumed names, fleeing lodgings at a monent's notice and frequently short of food.
Helen Rappaport's lively account describes Lenin's triumphs and the conflicts, personal and political, with those who shared his exile. She builds up a vivid picture of Russian émigré life and of how Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked to achieve his vision of a Soviet social democracy. She also explores the toll that their extraordinary existence took not just on Lenin but on the loyal group that surrounded him, and particularly on the women in his life: his long-suffering wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, his mother-in-law, and his mistress, Inessa Armand, as well as his mother and sisters back home.
This is a book alive with fascinating detail, from Lenin's 1908 visit to the celebrated writer Maxim Gorky in Capri for a restorative holiday, to his trips to the working-men's music halls of Montmartre in Belle Epoque Paris, and the story of the London detective who kept Lenin under surveillance, hiding in a cupboard in a room above a pub in Islington as the fledgling party congress fomented revolution.
With much new material from rare and previously overlooked sources, Conspirator puts Lenin's pre-revolutionary struggle for change in Russia into the wider context of the international socialist movement, revealing the human side of this revolutionary figure. It is an unrivalled portrait of Lenin in the making.